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The Butterfly Conservatory and More at the American Museum of Natural History

- In the Galleries: Arts and Education

The Butterfly Conservatory and More
At The
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024
Tickets: 212.769.5200
Press: Aubrey Gaby

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 24, 2007

(See a Live Butterfly Web Cam)
(See a Review of Gold at the American Museum of Natural History)
(See a Review of Cosmic Collisions at the Rose Center for Earth and Space)
(See a Review of Unknown Audubons)

On a warm, May afternoon, I led my father and his friend, both visiting NYC from Massachusetts, through numerous, bustling galleries of the Museum of Natural History. You can purchase a type of super-voucher, in which you have entrance to the Space Show, to Cosmic Collisions, to the Butterfly Conservatory, to the Gold exhibit, and more, including a museum general pass. Now on permanent view in the Museum is the newly restored Audubon Gallery with the Unknown Audubons, paintings and etchings of rare and better known mammals on display.

The Gold exhibit, with Gold Rush memorabilia, gold bars, and golden trophies, is on exhibit through August 19, 2007. On each viewing, the Gold exhibit reveals new wonders and gems. The space show, Cosmic Collisions, is on view daily, every half hour. Again, on each viewing, one can absorb new scientific facts about collisions in space and the origins of planets. The Butterfly Conservatory was open from October 2006 through May 2007. It will re-open in October 2007. The Museum’s web notes on the Butterflies are below:

Museum of Natural History Notes: “Butterflies and moths make up a large group of insects known as the Order Lepidoptera (lep-i-DOP-ter-ah). The name—from the Greek lepido, "scale", and ptera, "wings"—refers to a prominent feature of adult butterflies and moths, the tiny scales that cover the wings and the rest of the body. Adult butterflies are wonderfully diverse in shape, size, and color. Active during the day, they live almost everywhere around the world, from Arctic tundra to tropical rain forests. There are more than 250,000 known species of Lepidoptera, of which about 18,000 are butterflies. Based on their anatomy, butterflies are classified into five families. This exhibition features butterflies from three of the families: the Pieridae (PYAIR-i-dee), commonly known as whites and sulphurs; the Papilionidae (pah-pill-ee-ON-i-dee), or swallowtails; and the Nymphalidae (nim-FAL-i-dee), which includes morphos, longwings and others.”

It was thrilling to observe the multitudes of colorful moths and butterflies, some perched for feeding, some nocturnal and sleeping, and some fluttering about. There were visitors of all ages, and the youngest children seemed the most enthused, allowing the butterflies to land on their hands and face. This is a must-see-again exhibit, an annual tradition.

Family Programs, including children’s history workshops, Treasure Hunts, gilding lessons, and chemistry experiments are listed on the Museum Website, as well as the Public Programs with related performances, panels, and documentaries. Check or call 212.769.5200 for more information on current and future events.

Butterflies at American Museum of Natural History
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

A Nocturnal Moth
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

A Butterfy Feeds
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at